• Economic Facts and Fallacies

  • By: Thomas Sowell
  • Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,765 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Economic Facts and Fallacies is designed for people who want to understand economic issues without getting bogged down in economic jargon, graphs, or political rhetoric. Writing in a lively manner that does not require any prior knowledge of economics, Thomas Sowell exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues, including many that are widely disseminated in the media and by politicians: fallacies about urban problems, income differences, male-female economic differences, academia, race, and Third World countries.

While all of these fallacies have a certain plausibility that gives them their staying power, this makes it even more important to carefully examine their flaws. Sowell holds these beliefs under the microscope and draws conclusions that are sure to inspire rigorous debate.

©2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Sowell is fearless and invariably so far ahead of the curve in discussing economics or politics or pretty much anything that the rest of us are left with eating his intellectual dust. I can't think of a higher compliment that that." (Fred Barnes, Executive Editor, Weekly Standard)

What listeners say about Economic Facts and Fallacies

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good with salt...

Although another reviewer points out, correctly, that the author's biases come across from start to finish, nevertheless this volume was quite interesting and informative, and well worth the time. Responsible, educated Americans are exposed to a constant barrage of statistics from all points of the political compass. This book is one attempt at encouraging a questioning of the underpinnings of any statistical factoids. For example, everyone has heard the statistic that women make only 75 cents for every dollar men make. I think most reasonable people suspect sexual prejudice is part of this difference, but also suspect there may be more to it than just prejudice. Sowell points out weaknesses of this factoid - including an analysis of subgroups of women and men that are most similar (adult, never married, no children) - in this subgroup women make substantially more than men. Although I do not agree with many of the author's political beliefs - I think anyone who wants to understand the danger of statistical factoids should take a listen (but keep a good supply of grains of salt handy).

56 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Not for closed minds

If you have an open mind, then this book is for you. It will confirm many of your beliefs and possibility challenge some others. But be forewarned, this book covers such as wide variety of topics that there is a good chance that you will find yourself on the wrong side of at least one good argument. What matters most is that you grow from the experience.

The book covers a number of topics. These include rush hour traffic, real estate prices in California, CEO pay, college personnel pay, pay by gender, crime in cities, urban slums, slavery outside North America, foreign aid, third world countries, and discrimination. Usually a chapter is devoted to a topic. Each topic contains many questions. Supporting information comes from history, census data, and other economic sources. For example, the lives of the Indians changed when the European settlers brought horses to North America.

Since 2008, many economic facts still ring true. In August, 2010, Beijing has a ten day traffic jam. California real estate prices are still high. CEOs still get paid a lot. The earthquake in Haiti reveals a poor government. Nigeria does not protect its oil industry. The nationalization of the oil and gas industry does not make a country rich.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best analysis I've read of Economic issues

This book debunks a lot of "studies" that find discrimination by linking it all to various statistical slights of hand. Professor Sowell goes indepth with his explanations of various cultural arguments. Warning, may persaude more liberal readers that their die-hard beliefs are wrong through the application of variables such as education and working hours to disprove many racial and sexist arguments made about our current times.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DG
  • 07-02-09

Everything everyone needs to know about economics

This book will force you to think through the economic dogma you have been fed all your life. Much of what you thought you knew, you will realize, was indeed fallacious.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

No Facts just the author's Fallacies

The author's prejudices come across from the start and continue throughout his rants in subsequent chapters. Don't waste your time.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

If you don't know anything about economics, maybe

Claiming to be unbiased, this book has a very Neo-Conservative slant. If you know very little about Economics, you'll probably learn something, but you may also find that you see no point in sensible ideas like, say, the EPA--or parks! For instance, in presenting the way government policies effect rents (housing prices), Sowell presents that because such "planning" that mandates parks reduces land and thus raises prices, this (city "planning") is a bad thing. Similarly, because government market regulation reduces the set of viable trades (ie, if government says you can't sell your child's organs, your financial fortunes are thus 'limited') then this, also, is a bad thing and, to this author, an argument on first principles for a Laissez Faire government. Yes, this really is the kind of stupidity you can expect here.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book by Great Thinker

The theme could be that it is not the things you don't know that create most problems, but the things you think you know but are false that create the real problems.

Dr. Sowell explains the common fallacies that undermine our thinking.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Economics explained in such an easy to understand narrative. This should be required reading in every high school.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great info, clarifying economics

Lots if numbers, statistics and counter intuitive facts that deeply challenges conventional wisdom found on every newsroom all over the planet. I've learned a great amount of examples and finished with that feeling we've been sorrounded by idiots. Great audio, but I would rather suggest to get the printed version, partly because all the data included in the text. It maybe hard to remember all that info without a pencil to take notes.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

somewhat painful to get through

Between the content and the narration it's just too dry for me. This book which I have yet to finish did not produce and earth shattering eurekas for me and I do find economics quite interesting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • JP
  • 07-08-20

Must listen!

Gives a good insight into why #BLM is a massive marxist con. Well worth paying attention.

5 people found this helpful

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  • John Musk
  • 08-13-21

Some good points but clearly biased

Most of the information is presented with relevant studies cited but there is an implicit assumption that everything is a commodity and that productivity and profit takes precedent at all costs. A convincing argument is presented for the gender pay gap issue citing there is more than just saying x% of this and y% of that, but then there is a mention of disproportionate proportion of liberal minds in academia as faculty without any analysis like what was done with the pay gap issue. An unbiased analysis, in my view, would dive deep into this issue like how the author talks about the gender pay gap, since for all we know, it is possible that liberal minded people prefer to forgo higher salaries and teach the next generation due to their sense of wanting to help others more compared to conservative minded people who would choose industry where there is better pay on average

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dawn from Kent
  • 08-12-18

Another great Sowell book

Another great Sowell book although there is a lot of overlap between this and Sowell's Basic Economics.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alistair Domestics
  • 12-11-21

Fantastic. highly recommend.

This book provides a fantastic critic on many long standing issues.
Sowell is libertarian. I’d especially recommend this book to people who are more socialist by leaning as it gives a very cogent argument for libertarianism which you may not have been exposed to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-14-19

logical simple to follow...

this book breaks down the problem of making decisions based on preconceived notions without prior proper investigation necessary in many important matters in our society..

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. G. Tierney
  • 07-15-22

Fantastic

Fantastic listen which really expands on core economic concepts, using real world examples in laymans terms. Narrator did a great job.

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  • Oded Sharon
  • 03-05-22

Somewhere between stupid and evil

Arguing in the first chapter that all transactions are beneficial for both parties completely ignores the endless scenarios in which people don’t have a choice (when there’s a monopoly for example). The premise of libertarianism which this book heavily relies on is that everyone are equal in power and no one is stupid or evil. Can anyone seriously argue this reflects reality?

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  • Riff
  • 01-26-22

Very basic, lacking depth

This is not even Economics 101, but something of a precursor to a primer. Although it covers a lot of ground, there are some significant errors of fact in it, and it makes assertions that are apparently unsubstantiated.* However it does serve a purpose as a useful beginning place to start even from the point of "how not to view economics" so not totally without grounding and it also allows some people to step outside of what may be an echo chamber. This book is not irredeemable, and it does make some notable points that perhaps not every student of economics considers - but it provides few definitive answers and most of the assertions made can be readily refuted by other sources.

I wouldn't recommend paying full price for this but if you can find it in a sale or discounted version, it's worth adding to your collection but as a standalone "everything about economics" it will leave the listener very badly misinformed and lacking in knowledge.

*note that there are very few references in the audio version but this may not be so in the text version

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-10-22

Sentiment is good but conclusions are shaky

The sentiment that statistics should be properly dissected with terms being well defined to make sure what is being represented is true is good. I think it's misapplied slightly. 3rd party observers are what researchers are. While that point is caveated, it is important to state that 3rd party observers can have a perspective which is not tainted by the closeness to a problem/situation. Overall still good for broadening your thinking

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  • Y. Syed
  • 03-16-19

The importance of reading data in the right way

“Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics!”
The importance of digging deeper into any assertions and statistics, is made clear, in this very important and impressive book.
Whether you’re on the Left or on the Right; there are lessons that you can learn from this.

Go back and analyse some of your personal assertions and beliefs; whether on immigration, man-made climate-change or racism …

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-07-22

Much needed reading for every politician!

If every democrat read this book, the US would be a much better place indeed!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • mathew collins
  • 08-14-22

Good but not great

It’s got some good information but it doesn’t give you a plan to stop using caffeine and doesn’t give enough information about the true long term effects off caffeine and the benefits after stopping use.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-11-22

Worthwhile listen

Content is very thought provoking, but it does read very much like a textbook. My attempts at sharing this crucial perspective with others has been a hard sell!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-21

Excellent

Another excellent addition to Thomas Sowell’s series on economics. Makes a complex and dry subject interesting and understandable

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  • Andrew
  • 09-16-18

Consume this book before you believe what you hear

You should consume this book before you fall for a politicians spin or the media's half truths.